Manual Due in Court in Three Days... (Every Day Criminal Justice Series Book 1)

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In Canadian and English law , the jury's deliberations must never be disclosed outside the jury, even years after the case; to repeat parts of the trial or verdict is considered to be contempt of court , a criminal offense. In the United States, confidentiality is usually only required until a verdict has been reached, and jurors have sometimes made remarks that called into question whether a verdict was properly reached.

In Australia, academics are permitted to scrutinize the jury process only after obtaining a certificate or approval from the Attorney-General. Because of the importance of preventing undue influence on a jury, jury tampering like witness tampering is a serious crime, whether attempted through bribery , threat of violence , or other means. Jurors themselves can also be held liable if they deliberately compromise their impartiality.

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The role of the jury is described as that of a finder of fact , while the judge is seen as having the sole responsibility of interpreting the appropriate law and instructing the jury accordingly. The jury determines the truth or falsity of factual allegations and renders a verdict on whether a criminal defendant is guilty, or a civil defendant is civilly liable. Sometimes a jury makes specific findings of fact in what is called a "special verdict.

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Juries are often justified because they leaven the law with community norms. For example, it would be possible for one jury to find that particular conduct is negligent, and another jury to find that the conduct is not negligent, without either verdict being legally invalid, on precisely the same factual evidence. Of course, no two witnesses are exactly the same, and even the same witness will not express testimony in exactly the same way twice, so this would be difficult to prove.

It is the role of the judge, not the jury, to determine what law applies to a particular set of facts. However, occasionally jurors find the law to be invalid or unfair, and on that basis acquit the defendant, regardless of the evidence presented that the defendant violated the law. This is commonly referred to as "jury nullification of law" or simply jury nullification. When there is no jury "bench trial" , the judge makes rulings on both questions of law and of fact.

Police Make More Than 10 Million Arrests a Year, but That Doesn’t Mean They’re Solving Crimes

In most continental European jurisdictions, judges have more power in a trial and the role and powers of a jury are often restricted. Actual jury law and trial procedures differ significantly between countries. The collective knowledge and deliberate nature of juries are also given as reasons in their favor:. Detailed interviews with jurors after they rendered verdicts in trials involving complex expert testimony have demonstrated careful and critical analysis.

The interviewed jurors clearly recognized that the experts were selected within an adversary process. Moreover, the research shows that in deliberations jurors combine their individual perspectives on the evidence and debate its relative merits before arriving at a verdict. In the United States, juries are sometimes called on, when asked to do so by a judge in the jury instructions, to make factual findings on particular issues. This may include, for example, aggravating circumstances which will be used to elevate the defendant's sentence if the defendant is convicted. This practice was required in all death penalty cases in Blakely v.

Washington , U.

A similar Sixth Amendment argument in Apprendi v. New Jersey , U. Many U. For example, a judge might seat an advisory jury to guide the judge in awarding non-economic damages such as "pain and suffering" damages in a case where there is no right to a jury trial, such as depending on state law a case involving "equitable" rather than "legal" claims. In Canada, juries are also allowed to make suggestions for sentencing periods at the time of sentencing.

The suggestions of the jury are presented before the judge by the Crown prosecutor s before the sentence is handed down. In a small number of U. However, this is not the practice in most other legal systems based on the English tradition, in which judges retain sole responsibility for deciding sentences according to law. The exception is the award of damages in English law libel cases, although a judge is now obliged to make a recommendation to the jury as to the appropriate amount.

In legal systems based on English tradition, findings of fact by a jury, and jury conclusions that could be supported by jury findings of fact even if the specific factual basis for the verdict is not known are entitled to great deference on appeal. In other legal systems, it is generally possible for an appellate court to reconsider both findings of fact and conclusions of law made in the trial court, and in those systems, evidence may be presented to appellate courts in what amounts to a trial de novo new trial of appealed findings of fact.

The finality of trial court findings of fact in legal systems based on the English tradition has a major impact on court procedure in these systems. This makes it imperative that lawyers be highly prepared for trial because errors and misjudgments related to the presentation of evidence at trial to a jury cannot generally be corrected later on appeal, particularly in court systems based on the English tradition.

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Surprises at trial are much more consequential in court systems based on the English tradition than they are in other legal systems [ citation needed ]. Jury nullification means deciding not to apply the law to the facts in a particular case by jury decision. In other words, it is "the process whereby a jury in a criminal case effectively nullifies a law by acquitting a defendant regardless of the weight of evidence against him or her.

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In the 17th and 18th centuries, there was a series of such cases, starting in with the trial of the Quaker William Penn which asserted the de facto right, or at least power, of a jury to render a verdict contrary to the facts or law. A good example is the case of one Carnegie of Finhaven who in accidentally killed the Scottish Earl of Strathmore.

As the defendant had undoubtedly killed the Earl, the law as it stood required the jury to render the verdict that the case had been "proven" and cause Carnegie of Finhaven to die for an accidental killing. Instead, the jury asserted what is believed to be their "ancient right" to judge the whole case and not just the facts and brought in the verdict of "not guilty". This led to the development of the not proven verdict in Scots law. Today in the United States, juries are instructed by the judge to follow the judge's instructions concerning what is the law and to render a verdict solely on the evidence presented in court.

Important past exercises of nullification include cases involving slavery see Fugitive Slave Act of , freedom of the press see John Peter Zenger , and freedom of religion see William Penn. In United States v. Moylan , F.

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In Sparf v. Modern American jurisprudence is generally intolerant of the practice, and a juror can be removed from a case if the judge believes that the juror is aware of the power of nullification. In the United Kingdom, a similar power exists, often called "jury equity". This enables a jury to reach a decision in direct contradiction with the law if they feel the law is unjust.

This can create a persuasive precedent for future cases, or render prosecutors reluctant to bring a charge — thus a jury has the power to influence the law. The standard justification of jury equity is taken from the final few pages of Lord Devlin's book "Trial by Jury". Devlin explained jury equity through two now-famous metaphors: that the jury is "the lamp that shows that freedom lives" and that it is a "little parliament".

Perhaps the best example of modern-day jury equity in England and Wales was the acquittal of Clive Ponting , on a charge of revealing secret information, under section 2 of the Official Secrets Act in Ponting's defense was that the revelation was in the public interest.

The trial judge directed the jury that "the public interest is what the government of the day says it is" — effectively a direction to the jury to convict. Nevertheless, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. Another example is the acquittal in of Michael Randle and Pat Pottle , who confessed in open court to charges of springing the Soviet spy George Blake from Wormwood Scrubs Prison and smuggling him to East Germany in Pottle successfully appealed to the jury to disregard the judge's instruction that they consider only whether the defendants were guilty in law, and assert a jury's ancient right to throw out a politically motivated prosecution, in this case, compounded by its cynical untimeliness.

In Scotland with a separate legal system from that of England and Wales although technically the "not guilty" verdict was originally a form of jury nullification, over time the interpretation has changed so that now the "not guilty" verdict has become the normal one when a jury is not persuaded of guilt and the "not proven" verdict is only used when the jury is not certain of innocence or guilt.

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It is not a trivial distinction since any shift in the burden of proof is a significant change which undermines the safeguard for the citizen. Besides petit juries for jury trials and grand juries for issuing indictments, juries are sometimes used in non-legal or quasi-legal contexts. Blue ribbon juries attend to civic matters as an ad-hoc body in the executive branch of a government. Outside government, a jury or panel of judges may make determinations in competition , such as at a wine tasting , art exhibition , talent contest, or reality game show. These types of contests are juried competitions.

Jury Summons

Blue ribbon juries are juries selected from prominent, well-educated citizens, sometimes to investigate a particular problem such as civic corruption. Blue ribbon juries cannot be used in real trials, which require constitutional safeguards to produce a jury of one's peers. The blue-ribbon jury is intended to overcome the problems of ordinary juries in interpreting complex technical or commercial questions. In the United States, blue-ribbon juries were provided for by statutes, the terms varying by jurisdiction.

Each state may determine the extent to which the use of a jury is used. The use of a jury is optional for civil trials in any Australian state. Some States provide exceptions such as majority to-1 or to-2 verdicts where a jury cannot otherwise reach a verdict. The Constitution of Australia provides in section 80 that 'the trial on indictment of any offence against any law of the Commonwealth shall be by jury'.

Where a trial 'on indictment' has been prescribed, it is an essential element that it be found by a unanimous verdict of guilty by 12 lay members of the public. This requirement stems from the historical meaning of 'jury' at the time that the Constitution was written and is in principle thus an integral element of trial by jury. The Belgian Constitution provides that all cases involving the most serious crimes be judged by juries. As a safeguard against libel cases, press crimes can also only be tried by a jury.

Racism is excluded from this safeguard. Twelve jurors decide by a qualified majority of two-thirds whether the defendant is guilty or not. A tied vote result in 'not guilty'; a '7 guilty — 5 not guilty' vote is transferred to the 3 professional judges who can, by unanimity, reverse the majority to 'not guilty'. The sentence is delivered by a majority of the 12 jurors and the 3 professional judges.

The procedural codification has been altered to meet the demands formulated by the European Court of Human Rights.